Duty-Search browser hijacker (Free Instructions)

Duty-Search browser hijacker Removal Guide

What is Duty-Search browser hijacker?

Duty-Search is a browser hijacker that might show up on your system unexpectedly

Duty-SearchPotentially unwanted applications can specialize in browser-hijacking

Once Duty-Search browser hijacker is installed on the system, the browser no longer looks and feels the same. This is unsurprising, considering what the main goal of these potentially unwanted applications is – to expose users to as much commercial content as possible.

To achieve this goal, the operators of the app use a simple scheme that does work for a certain number of users. In most cases, Duty-Search is not installed intentionally and shows up on users' browsers seemingly out of nowhere one day. However, this is far from the truth, and users themselves install them, even though they initially never intend to do so.

This usually happens when users install freeware[1] from third-party websites and do not notice optional components that are being different to them on the way. Alternatively, fake updates and similar deceptive ads could spread browser hijackers. Regardless of which method was used, users always install the app themselves, usually after being tricked into doing so.

Once installed on the system, the changes would immediately be noticed once the browser is opened: users would see a new extension installed and that their homepages have been set to duty-search.xyz (this is also replicated once the new tab is opened). Additionally, with that, a new search box would also be implemented, and it functions quite a bit differently than the default one they are used to, as Bing or another provider would be used to produce results.

Another significant change – and the primary monetization method – is the sponsored links and ads that are placed at the top of the search results. These can be completely legitimate and simply advertise a browser, a retailer, or similar. However, some of these results might not be trustworthy at all and would result in users installing other potentially unwanted applications or worse.

If you have noticed that your browser has been hijacked, you should immediately take action and ensure that your device is secure. This is especially important if you have spotted the app installed behind your back, as there could be other malicious processes running in the background.

Name Duty-Search
Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted application
Distribution Software bundles, third-party websites, deceptive ads
Symptoms Unknown extension or application is installed on the system; homepage and new tab address are set to duty-search.xyz; a customized search engine is appended to the homepage; search results are filled with sponsored links and ads
Risks Ads might include links to potentially dangerous or even malicious websites, resulting in malware infection, personal information disclosure, or financial losses
Elimination To uninstall unwanted apps manually, you can follow our removal guide below. If the unwanted ads and other disruptive behavior does not stop, you should scan your computer with security software and delete all threats automatically
Additional tips After you eliminate the hijacker, you should also clean your web browsers to avoid tracking and other issues. You can use ReimageIntego as a quick solution

The copied app

Duty-Search is just one of many browser hijackers that has been making rounds around the web. As mentioned, it is mostly installed inadvertently, thus its presence is undesirable. Indeed, it has not much to offer (if at all), as it pretends to be an alternative tool that helps to browser the web better and faster. In fact, this is not the case at all, and all the changes to the homepage, new tab, and other settings are made to show commercial content to users.

We have talked about plenty of browser hijackers that are mere copies of one another, and Duty-Search is no different. It belongs to a broader hijacker family that has been spreading around for around a year now. Its previous versions, such as Sports-Blast, Fantasy-Sports, or Sports-Blast, might look different slightly, but the similarities are undeniable:

  • Uses the same naming pattern consisting of two words
  • Redirects searches to an alternative provider, usually Bing
  • Looks and feels the same.

Thus, even though some of these hijackers might imply that they focus on sports, games, or similar topics, it is all fake. They all operate identically and do not provide any benefits for having them installed on the device. In many cases, it causes the complete opposite effect. Thus, we recommend not waiting any longer and removing the hijacker and other potentially unwanted programs/malware from your system as soon as possible.

Duty-Search virusDuty-Search redirects users' searches to a different provider and inserts ads

Duty-Search removal steps

Internet Explorer was the first browser to introduce extensions as early as 1999. Since then, there have been billions of extensions, otherwise known as addons or toolbars. While the security of these apps was significantly improved when downloaded from official sources such as Chrome Web Store, some malicious extensions still manage to bypass various security scanners, and Google has to remove extensions regularly to prevent users from experiencing a malware attack.

Third-party extensions, especially those downloaded from less-known or insecure sources, can cause significant issues to users. They can replace website content and can access various data for as long as they are installed. While most of these third parties are secure and trustworthy, some might not be, and browser hijackers definitely come from the latter category. They should never be trusted, as their goal is to monetize users' clicks and not please them with features.

That being said, extension removal is usually very easy. The app can be either accessed via the special “Extensions” icon visible on the main browser window, although this might not always be the case. Instead, we recommend you follow the instructions below to remove the unwanted extension as follows:

Google Chrome

  • Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  • In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chrome

Mozilla Firefox

  • Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the window's top-right).
  • Select Add-ons.
  • In here, select the unwanted plugin and click Remove.Remove extensions from Firefox

MS Edge (Chromium)

  • Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  • Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Safari

  • Click Safari > Preferences…
  • In the new window, pick Extensions.
  • Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall.Remove extensions from Safari

After you have uninstalled the extension, the work is far from finished. As we previously mentioned, browser hijackers are known for their data tracking capabilities in order to tailor ads to users' tastes. Information such as visited websites clicked links, search queries, IP addresses, technical device data, and much more is later shared or even sold to third parties, which might be capable of protecting it properly.

To be able to track this information, websites and PUPs often employ tracking technologies such as cookies, which as stored locally. These small items can reside there for years before they automatically expire, so security experts[2] recommend removing them manually from time to time to improve privacy. Likewise, session hijacking[3] can be a real threat to security, and removing web data and cookies is recommended for that reason too.

To remove them, you can refer to our instructions below. If you want a quicker solution, we strongly recommend using ReimageIntego repair and maintenance utility, as it can do that job with just one click.

Google Chrome

  • Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  • Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  • Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  • Click Clear data.Clear cache and web data from Chrome

Mozilla Firefox

  • Click Menu and pick Options.
  • Go to Privacy & Security section.
  • Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  • Click on Clear Data…
  • Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear.Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

MS Edge

  • Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  • Select Privacy and services.
  • Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  • Under Time range, pick All time.
  • Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Safari

  • Click Safari > Clear History…
  • From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  • Confirm with Clear History.Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Finally, once you have removed the unwanted browser extensions and cleaned your browsers, you should run a scan with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes to ensure that no malware managed to break into your machine. This is particularly important because sneakier viruses are very good at disguising their presence once they are installed on the system, and regular users might not notice them for weeks or even months.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.

If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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